3D Printing Helping Save Lives

Posted on September 10th, by Lindsey in Uncategorized. No Comments

3d printing technology has come a long way since Charles W. ‘Chuck’ Hull, invented stereolithography in 1983. Today 3d printing is used throughout the world in the most demanding, advanced applications, like aerospace and automotive production, healthcare products and medical treatments.

Dr. Bramlet says 3D printing technology has essentially allowed doctors and surgeons to hold a patient’s heart in their hands and look inside it before heading into surgery. Dr. Karl Welke is a congenital heart surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center.

Philip Dydynski, chief of radiology at Kosair Children’s Hospital, treated a 14-month-old boy in need of life-saving heart surgery, Roland Lian Cung Bawi of Owensboro was born with four congenital heart defects and his doctors were looking for greater insights into his condition prior to his operation.

Having recently toured the Rapid Prototyping Center at the University of Louisville’s J.B. Speed School of Engineering, he was so impressed with the 3D printing capabilities available there, asked if a 3D model of the child’s heart could be constructed to enable doctors to better plan and prepare for the surgery.

Using a template created by images from a CT scan the Rapid Prototyping Centre constructed a model heart 1.5 times the size of the child’s. It was built in three pieces using a flexible filament and required about 20 machine hours at a cost of approx. $600.

Once the model was built, Erle Austin III, cardiothoracic surgeon with University of Louisville Physicians, was able to develop a surgical plan and complete the heart repair with only one operation. “I found the model to be a game changer in planning to do surgery on a complex congenital heart defect,” he said. Roland was released from Kosair Children’s Hospital Feb. 14 and returned Feb. 21 for checkups with his doctors. His prognosis is good. Source University of Louisville

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